Monday, August 20, 2007

5 Months Later - The Morning Of . . .

Five months ago - 152 days ago - was day one of the "rest of my life" - the birth of the "new" Sean - the start of the next chapter - etc. etc. etc. A LOT has happened since then that makes the surgery itself seem very small and unimportant in the grand scheme of things (they aren't kidding when they say the surgery is just a tool). Here is what I do remember about the morning of my surgery though . . .

I remember crying while I brushed my teeth. Not that I was scared or thought I had made a mistake but I was so emotional and it was a long 30 years and 9 months to get me to this day. I remember how slow I was to get dressed. How timidly I put on my shoes. How resistant I was to kiss my mother-in-law (who was watching Ava so Joy could sit, in peace, at the hospital during my surgery) good bye and how I shook when I held my daughter and kiss her forehead and whispered "Be a big girl, Gracie. Love your mommy and know that I love you with all I have and that I will be home in two days a far better father than the one that leaves you here today" in to her ear. That was it though!

I walked out the door with my wife and a calm came over me. It was just the two of us. Like when I woke up on our wedding day. Or on our first real date. Or on the first time I told her I loved her and she told me. Or like the first time we found out that we were going to be parents. It is, by now, another one of the most important moments of my life - as I count them - and, like most of the big ones . . . it is just me and her that shared that moment.

The car ride was pretty silent. We held hands and a mix-CD I had made her played on the stereo. We parked and took my bags out of the car in the dark and walked the bridge to enter the Duracell Surgery Center in near silence on one of those first "spring" mornings when it's not "warm" but you don't want to run for the inside to get out of the cold. We got inside and sat with just our thoughts in our own heads to keep us company. They called my name and the anxiety began again - I was fine with the two of us. Being with her in the quiet was perfect. She calmed and centered me but - was this it? Did I have to say "goodbye" already?

No! She walked the long hall with me. She helped me tie those stupid gowns they make you wear up. She put my surgery socks with the grippy nubs on them on. She laughed at the smiley face I drew on my belly to show the surgical staff where my surgery site was. She held my hand as the 15th person to ask me what I had for breakfast said "Just checking." as I told them I had started fasting at midnight. She looked at me calmly as the OR staff tried, again, to get my IV in. She encouraged me as I started to pray for a quick surgery.

I kissed her a very casual kiss as they started to wheel me a way. My wife is not a big fan of PDA and I was already focused on what was ahead. I wish I could go back and give her a real kiss. One that would let her know that it was all going to be fine and one that thanked her for loving me and accepting me from the day we met up until that moment - and one that would tell her, like I did for Ava, that the husband she would get back was a better man than the one she was losing for a few hours. Hind sight is always 20/20 though.

They wheeled me down the long, cold hall. I was flooded with things I wished I had told Joy or Ava or my parents or my brothers or friends of mine, etc. NOT that I was scared or thought I might never get a chance to speak to them again or whatever but more that I realized, in that moment, that I didn't do enough to tell the people in this world that I love that I do love them and that they mean so much to me. I am doing better with that now than before my surgery.

Anywho, they got me in the room. We all had a few laughs (I think (smile)) and Dr. Zuccala came in and set up his iPod and I went off to sleep. The rest is history, I suppose.

I don't remember any of the rest of the day of my surgery. I remember waking up in the recovery room but not really being awake. I remember waking up again what was probably hours later and having my wife there to hold my hand. I told her that "We did it!" I woke up again hours later and she was still there. Sitting in the dark and watching Monday Night Lights (one of our favorite shows) and watching over me - just in case I needed anything.

Like I said - me and Joy - the greatest moments of my life, shared by just two people. This one just happened to be the first great moment of the "rest" of my life.

No comments: